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Issue #129 - May 2006

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The Garry Kilworth Scam

By Mario Guslandi

Garry Kilworth? To the best of my knowledge there’s no such a writer. It’s just a pen name widely used by a bunch of authors who, for some reason, want to hide their true identities. Believe me, Garry Kilworth doesn’t exist. And if he does… well, then he must be a hundred-headed hydra, a literary chameleon endowed with unsurpassed capacities to produce any existing fiction genre. Take this collection, Moby Jack and Other Tall Tales, published by PS Publishing and allegedly written by Garry Kilworth. Can anybody in his right mind honestly believe those twenty-one stories, so different in themes and narrative style, have been created by one writer?

The title story, "Moby Jack", is a fine piece of ecological SF, whereas the opening tale, "Sculptor", is a beautiful example of alternate history featuring a powerful High Priest, a huge tower and an illegitimate son seeking a subtle but terrible vengeance. "Black Drongo" provides a splendid psychological study of both bird and human behaviour, reported through the words of a brilliant scientist. In "Hamelin, Nebraska", the legend of the Pied Piper is revisited in a very dark fashion.

There are a couple of unmemorable fairy tales ("The Frog Chauffeur", "The Council of Beasts"), a funny piece about an unusual alien invasion ("Attack of the Charlie Chaplins"), a very enjoyable semi-humorous story starring a terrible guardian angel ("Cherub"), and an unclassifiable tale featuring a peculiar kind of pet ("Bonsai Tiger"). "Hunter’s Hall", supposedly a children’s tale, is actually a creepy piece where an unlucky hunter experiences a puzzling after-life. "Something’s Wrong" is a surrealistic tour de force depicting the inconvenience of having "living" furniture.

In "Exploding Sparrows" we have fantastic fiction at its peak, describing how sparrows became lethal to humans. Genetic mutation or conspiracy? Go figure. The excellent "Inside the Walled City" tensely reports a nightmarish journey into the labyrinthine structure of the old walled city of Manchu in Hong Kong. In "Paper Moon", a very entertaining SF piece, we learn that bureaucracy is not an exclusive feature of our planet. In the horrific "The Megowl" we find a nasty, supernatural bird making a young boy’s life pretty miserable. A vampire story, anyone? Here it is: "The Silver Collar", an atmospheric yarn narrated in a melancholy, dreamy fashion.

As a whole the book is a captivating collection of good, solid fiction providing variety and entertainment. Authors unknown. Garry Kilworth? Come on, stop pulling my leg…

Moby Jack and Other Tall Tales - Garry Kilworth - PS Publishing - publisher's proof

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Moby Jack and Other Tall Tales - Garry Kilworth - PS Publishing

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Emerald City - copyright Cheryl Morgan - cheryl@emcit.com
Masthead Art copyright Steven Stahlberg (left) and Gerhard Hoeberth (right)
Additional artwork by Frank Wu & Sue Mason
Designed by Tony Geer
Copyright of individual articles remains with their authors
Editorial assistants: Anne K.G. Murphy & Kevin Standlee